Ground Zero bullshit

I want to write something tonight about the so-called “ground zero” mosque. I say so-called because it’s actually a few blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood, but that doesn’t seem to deter people, even on the left, from calling it the “ground zero” mosque, like it’s a giant mosque being built triumphantly right in the middle of the 9/11 pit. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write about it for a while now, but, what with all the drama over the stuffed animal abduction and the subsequent angry fallout, I haven’t had much time. The only problem is, now that I have time, I can’t seem to summon up the enthusiasm. I’ve been sitting here for over an hour now, and all I can seem to do is comb the internet for 30-second clips of the David Hasselhoff roast, and images of the reality television “celebrity” Tila Tequila being pelted with rocks and feces during her performance at the recent Gathering of the Juggalos. (Sadly, it doesn’t sound as though she handled the Juggalo wrath anywhere near as well as Andrew WK did in ’08.)

I want this mosque story to go away, but I’m afraid that it’ll be with us through the November elections, as it reinforces the central platform of the Republican party – which is to say, it gives credence in the minds of some to the idea that Obama is an America-hating Muslim. Obama, to his credit, played into this yesterday, when he said that Muslims had, “the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.” You’d think that these Tea Baggers, who keep talking about how much they love the Constitution, would be right there with him, but, instead, they’re tearing him apart.

Unfortunately, Obama stepped back a bit this morning, saying: “I was not commenting, and I will not comment on, the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there”. But, I don’t know that he had much choice, with even CNN contributors saying that he’d pretty much endorsed jihad on the United States. I never thought I’d see the day where a President of the United States would have to back down from saying that we respect freedom of religion in this country, but here we are.

If you’re unfamiliar with the sequence of events leading up to the current firestorm, check out Salon. They’ve got a great timeline, which shows exactly what happened – how a story in the New York Times about a progressive Muslim congregation led by man saying, “We want to push back against the extremists,” became a national referendum on the Islamization of America. It’s fascinating stuff. One day far right commentator Laura Ingraham is saying of the project, “I like what you’re trying to do,” and, few short months later, people are screaming at the top of their lungs about how the building’s very existence would be a signal to the world that the United States had been defeated by radical Muslim extremists.

While we’re on the subject of right wing commentators, I found what Rush Limbaugh had to say about this New York mosque project yesterday to be of particular interest. He said that putting a mosque in the shadow of the World Trade Center would essentially be like erecting a Hindu temple next to Pearl Harbor, or, worse yet, a mosque next to the Pentagon. As others have pointed out, this was funny, not just because Rush seems to think that Indians (Hindus) bombed Pearl Harbor, but because there actually is a mosque inside the Pentagon, and a Shinto temple in close proximity to Pearl Harbor. But, facts don’t seem to be the issue here. The issue here is that the Republicans smell blood in the water, and they know that they can use this come November, as they face their Democratic rivals. They have no policy ideas of their own, so they sell fear to paranoid FOX viewers. It’s bullshit, and it embarrasses me. I hate knowing that history will look back on my generation as the one where the madness set in and everything started to fall apart.

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  1. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    What’s the big deal? So what if they build a mosque in NY. It was a group of individuals who carried out the terrorist attacks on 9/11. You can’t retaliate against all persons who share their particular faith. I think we should stop categorizing persons into group identifications and then holding individuals responsible for the actions of all other individuals who self identify with that group. Each person is accountable for their own personal actions and no others. If someone who called themselves a Christian carried out a heinous crime, would that be justification to prevent any churches from being built near the crime scene? Those who blame all Muslims for the actions of a few are mistaken.

  2. Steve Bierce
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    EOS, please come over to my house so that we can discuss this face to face. I will give you a free beer and an ice cream cone.

  3. Knox
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Not to contribute to your despair, Mark, but Vanity Fair has a great article on the modern presidency, and the intellectual/moral decay of Washington.

    How broken is Washington? Beyond repair? A day in the life of the president reveals that Barack Obama’s job would be almost unrecognizable to most of his predecessors—thanks to the enormous bureaucracy, congressional paralysis, systemic corruption (with lobbyists spending $3.5 billion last year), and disintegrating media. Inside the West Wing, the author talks to Obama’s top advisers about the challenge of playing the Washington game, ugly as it has become, even while their boss insists they find a way to transcend it.

  4. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    John Stewart did a good job on this story: here.

    If the stupidity gets any more widespread, we might be doomed.

  5. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t there a controversy about a mosque being built somewhere on Ellsworth, by Golfside? Whatever happened with that?

  6. Meta
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Best response to date, by far:

  7. Anonymatt
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I went into the old Burlington Coat Factory back in the 90s, but I didn’t buy anything.

  8. Kim
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    People might also be interested to know that there’s already a mosque near the WTC site.

  9. Aardvark
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Maybe all media should list the religion of everyone who has committed a crime. Maybe people then would start to say it’s all those “Christians’ out there that seem to be doing the most harm and ban churches from being close to say, schools, as those “Christians” do horrible things.

  10. Bob
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Dirtgrain – It wasn’t a mosque they wanted to build near Ellsworth and Hewitt. A Muslim group wanted to buy the shut-down Ardis school near there for a… school. A few residents living in the area were against it as it would increase “noise and traffic” in their perfect little world. Yeah, right. I guess when it was a public school, noise and traffic was not a problem.

    In the end I think the purchase fell through because of financing

  11. Edward
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    As someone more clever than me pointed out elsewhere on the web, there are Christina churches in Salem, and no one seems to be up in arms about that.

    I would also like to add that EOS is an ignorant ass.

    With that said, I have huge issues with Islam, especially regarding their treatment of women. Hopefully, however, when this mosque says their progressive, they mean it.

  12. FedUpwithYpsi
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Good point Aardvark. Did anyone raise any concerns about building churches after Tim McVeigh bombed the Federal Bldg? This seems to be a clear over reaction by white, right-wing christians…

  13. Tommy
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    For the first time in … ever, I fully agree with EOS. The world will probably be ending soon. Either that or someone else has snatched his body up and replaced it with someone who is rational.

  14. Brackinald Achery
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Wait… what did EOS say wrong?

  15. Brackinald Achery
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Oh, tommy beat me to the punch.

  16. Edward
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    My bad. I misread what EOS said. I’m sure a psychologist could learn a lot from this.

    Now that I think about it, maybe EOS is really a researcher somewhere, who created an asshole facade only to do a complete 360 and then see if people would pick up on it. I must have seen the initials, and interpreted it through that particular lens. It’s interesting.

    In other news, I just caught the following from Harpers, which includes Obama’s full quote on the matter:

    President Obama, during a Ramadan dinner at the White
    House, expressed his support for the First Amendment. “As
    a citizen, and as president,” Obama said, “I believe that
    Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as
    everyone else in this country. And that includes the right
    to build a place of worship and a community center on
    private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with
    local laws and ordinances.” Representative Peter King (R.,
    N.Y.) said that the president had “caved in to political
    correctness,” and Newt Gingrich accused Obama of
    “pandering to radical Islam.” Bryan Fischer, director of
    issues analysis for the conservative American Family
    Association, wrote on the organization’s website that
    there should be “no more mosques, period” in the United
    States. “This is for one simple reason,” he wrote. “Each
    Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the
    American government.”

  17. Bob
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    It’s such a non-story as there are already similar mosques in the area and the thing is two blocks away anyhow. But the president and his people should not have let themselves walk in to the trap that Fox News set for them on this one. The subject of the mosque came up at least six months ago, long before this weeks soundbites. President Obama was brave, correct and pretty stupid to have made any comment when asked about it. He should have adopted the right-wing stance that it was “the states right to decide” or something to that effect. Regardless of how right he was, this was not the issue on which he needed to show some spine. They gave the right wing media a story that they can milk right up to the election. Truly stupid.

  18. Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Typical Rovian wedge issue. Republicans will ride it until the mid term elections. Ho hum.

  19. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been rational. Maybe you’re just now becoming enlightened.

  20. Tommy
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I know what you are up to EOS. I am not taking the bait. Your lithium, by the way, seems to be working very well.

  21. Tim
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The Muslims in question are Sufis. They’re our allies. The following comes from today’s NYT:

    Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative is one of America’s leading thinkers of Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, which in terms of goals and outlook couldn’t be farther from the violent Wahhabism of the jihadists…

  22. Kelly Torro
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    The fact that Ingraham was in favor of this at one time just shows the hypocrisy of this group. They know damned well that this is the kind of thing they should be supporting. As the guy before me mentioned, they’re damned Sufis. This whole thing is depressing as hell. Our system is irreparably broken. Our only hope is to vote out the assholes in power, remove money from politics, and build high fences between the Capital and K Street. Enough is enough.

  23. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Politics = Religion

  24. Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I wish someone would fly a couple of planes into organized religion…the real enemy of the world. Maybe we could convince Christine Shultz to do it, with a promise of a thousand lifetimes in the fine city of Chicago, and the swallowing of Ypsilanti by a lake of fire, upon her martyrdom. I bet Mugger Mike would jump on the band wagon and fly the second plane, for just a whiff of her smelting pot.

    Love all your brothers and sisters. Everything will work out fine…until mother nature smites us all.

  25. Winky
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Everyone I’ve heard that opposes the mosque acknowledges that people have the right to build a mosque there, but they feel it is inappropriate. If the people that want to build the mosque really want to promote harmony and understanding, they will build it elsewhere. They are deliberately being provocative. Once again, the will of the people is being ignored. 70% of Americans don’t want it there. That is why we have Tea Parties.

  26. Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s like when those black people wanted to use our water fountains, right? I mean, they had water fountains of their own, but that wasn’t good enough. They had to be provocative.

    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

    Seriously, though, how many blocks is acceptable? I can see how it might be offensive if it were right in the footprint of the tower buildings, but it’s 2 blocks away. Would 3 blocks be better? How about 4? How many blocks is appropriate for this Muslim free zone?

    And, as someone else pointed out, these are Sufi Muslims, which, as I understand it, are the Muslims we’re supposed to like… Damn, a few months ago, even far right nut cases like Laura Ingraham were singing their praises. This is a completely manufactured event and it’s hilarious to me that the tea partiers are so gullible that they gobble it up hook, line and sinker.

  27. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    notone and Independent,

    There’s a big difference between “religions” and Christianity. All other major faiths have founders that claim to show the way to salvation. Only the Gospel of Jesus claims to BE the way. Religions teach salvation through moral effort or good deeds. The Bible teaches salvation through grace by Jesus Christ. Grace is a free gift that cannot be earned. In a religion, the motivation for obedience is fear of losing blessings in this world and the next. For Christians, the motivation is gratitude for the blessings we have already received because of Christ. We are so flawed and full of sin that Jesus had to die for us, but, we are so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for us.

  28. OTB
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Jesus was a revolutionary who was murdered. I consider myself a follower as well. He didn’t die for anyone, though.

  29. Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks EOS…but that’s what I’m saying. Believe in whatever you want. I admire faith. I am speaking towards organized religion. Any religion.

  30. Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Building a mosque there is exactly as offensive as building a Hindu shrine at Pearl Harbor or a swimming pool on the moon.

  31. Winky
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Let me put it so you can understand. Burger King had the legal right to build a restaurant on the Water Street property, but the community didn’t want it. The people in New York don’t want a mosque at Ground Zero. It’s simple.

  32. Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    a lot of people think Nugget Magazine is disgusting, and don’t think it should be published. They can’t understand who would want to read that filth. Well…I do…bring on the amputee porn! Yummmy! I bet I’m in an extreme minority there, but I don’t care. I’ll continue to read it, and they’ll (god willing) keep publishing it…no matter what you think. That’s why they are unalienable rights. Welcome to America. Freedom to practice whatever religion you choose! I certainly don’t appreciate those catholic uncle-feelio assholes worshiping in their nasty pedophile playpen of a church, right down the street from my dear old mom & pop’s house…but I can’t stop them…or tell them to move their nasty cum-stained alter somewhere else…so I tolerate them. Sorry Winky. Also…this mosque isn’t on ground zero…it’s two blocks away.
    There was once a group of people who slaughtered a country of proud citizens, and built a victory monument on the remains of their carcasses. That group of people where known as americans…and the monument was Mt. Rushmore, so shut the fuck up already. One nation, under god, with liberty and justice for all…sometimes.

  33. Brackinald Achery
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I think I can safely say that this issue has zero effect on my day to day life.

  34. Kevin Cane
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “fake mosque controversy erodes GOP support”

  35. Andy1313
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    @Winky, let me put it so you can understand, yours is a totally inaccurate analogy.

    Burger King had no such legal right to build on Water Street property – b/c they didn’t own the property! The city turned down their offer to purchase the property. Pretty simple to understand.

    On the other hand, the mosque developers DO own the property in question (or have agreements in place to acquire it), and their plans have been overwhelmingly approved by the relevant local decision makers (read: not you and your hysterical friends who don’t live in NYC).

    So yeah, at least you’re right when you say it’s simple. Not so much the other stuff.

    Winky’s fluff:
    “Let me put it so you can understand. Burger King had the legal right to build a restaurant on the Water Street property, but the community didn’t want it. The people in New York don’t want a mosque at Ground Zero. It’s simple.”

  36. Chelsea L.
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink


    I thought as you do, but heard, from an apparently credible source, that radical Muslims seek to build mosques on what they consider “conquered lands.” I’m not saying I no longer agree with your position, only that I don’t know *what to think. Seems it would be easy to be on the wrong side of this either way.

  37. Bob
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    As a veteran, it is totally absurd to see all these flag-wavers saying “No mosque on 9/11 sacred ground!” when in fact, if they have there way, they are screwing over troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Think about it. By not allowing a mosque close to 9/11, are we not sending a message to Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan that the US is just plain intolerant of their faith? Talk about feeding the fire of insurgents. But if there was strong support for the mosque here in the US, sending a signal that we respect the religious freedoms of ALL religions, what would the insurgents have to feed on then?

  38. Meta
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    According to a new poll, a growing number of Americans believe Obama is Muslim:

  39. Chelsea L.
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand. What if Obama is/were Muslim? I don’t think any reasonable person would describe him as radical, terrorist or fundamentalist. In fact, I don’t think any reasonable person would describe all, or even most, Islamics in those terms.

    I think “West Wing” said it best: Terrorists are to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity. Makes sense, no?

  40. Mr. Burns
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This is all a distraction, taking people’s attention away from the fact that sick 9/11 first responders still aren’t being cared for. That’s the real tragedy at ground zero, not the mosque.

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